Court-annexed mediation has saved the family of the late former Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Charles Murgor as it has brought a 24-year dispute over distribution of his wealth to an end.
The dispute ended last weekend after three years of mediation at the High Court in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, following the advice of presiding judge Hellen Omondi.
“As we start this case remember the Murgor name is reputable. My advice to you is not to expose private family affairs to the public through the media. Think of mediation,” justice Omondi said.
The process was led by accredited mediator Dennis Magare and involved former Director of Public Prosecution Philip Murgor, a lawyer and a relative of the parties in dispute.
The former PC left behind four widows - Selinah Kimoi (five children), Hannah (two children), Christine Chebor (six children) and Dinah Chepkoech (four children).
The former DPP is the first born son of Christine, who is now deceased.
The long-standing dispute centered on exclusion of Christine's children from the distribution of wealth.
This prompted Philip’s family, through his young brother Gilbert, to move to the High Court in Eldoret with a suit against this.
Philip’s family argued that they have a right to inherit their late father’s property in Turbo constituency in Uasin Gishu and Keiyo North in Elgeyo Marakwet.
They told the court they had been sidelined without justification and sought orders compelling their inclusion as beneficiaries.
Philip’s family also claimed that two surviving widows and their children had excluded the children of their late mother on grounds that she had been settled by her late husband on a 1,400-acre piece of land in Moiben, Uasin Gishu.
The family successfully countered this by proving their mother purchased the land from a white settler in 1972, through an AFC loan, after her husband repudiated all her financial and land transactions in 1969.
At one point in the dispute, the DPP charged Ms Chepkoech's son George Kipkorir with forgery. He was accused of presenting a title deed to the High Court with Ms Chebor's name replaced with that of Charles Murgor as proprietor.
The court was also treated to drama during the hearing lawyer Murgor accused his step-mother, Ms Kimoi, and her daughter Elizabeth Komen of practising witchcraft to instil fear with the aim of defeating justice.
Last week, however, the 17 children of the former powerful Kanu-era PC, who was polygamous, agreed to share the property equally.
The Sh1 billion property that Mr Murgor left behind includes 250 acres of agricultural land in Uasin Gishu County and the 212-acre Chebenyiny farm Elgeyo Marakwet County.
He also owned several prime plots in Eldoret town and in Iten town in Elgeyo Marakwet.
The mediator quickly helped the parties establish the beneficiaries and the sizes of the estate spread in two counties, and then came a 12-hour discussion on the distribution of the property.
Besides including Ms Chebor's children as beneficiaries, the parties agreed that they will get equal shares of the estate regardless of gender.
In addition, claims on Ms Chebor's properties were unconditionally withdrawn.
This was after Philip’s family opposed inclusion of the expansive 1,400 Moiben farm in the list of their late father’s property, noting their mother acquired it solely.